Producers Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan have fled Universal's Dark Universe franchise, so quickly that there are still Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan shaped puffs of smoke in the spot they were standing in, following the disappointing performance of the Kurtzman-directed The Mummy. The news comes via a report from THR, which notes that the future of the shared universe franchise is in doubt without its architects. Kurtzman will concentrate on the shockingly successful CBS All Access show Star Trek: Discovery, while Morgan will retreat to the comfort of the Fast & Furious franchise.
Plans to launch a shared universe starring Universal's classic movie monsters were announced back in 2014, and The Mummy, starring Tom Cruise, was set to be the launching point. Prior to The Mummy's release, things were looking promising for the franchise, with multiple big name stars attached and a release date set for the second movie, Bride of Frankenstein, which was rumored to star Angelina Jolie. However, The Mummy underperformed at the box office and everyone panicked, with Kurtzman saying back in August that he wasn't sure about his future with the franchise.
"I have to stay interested in it," explained Kurtzman at the time of how he could tell if he was done with a franchise. "I have to feel like my passion is there for it."
We totally understand. After we colossally screw up multi-billion dollar plans for a major movie franchise by releasing a box office bomb, we frequently become a little bit disinterested as well. "You know, we're not really feeling it," is the sort of thing we might say after a major movie studios based all of its plans for the next decade on our work and it turns out we churned out a boring stinkfest that not even Tom Cruise's advanced thetan levels couldn't save from destruction. Should have called Brendan Frasier. Also probably shouldn't have given it a dumb name like Dark Universe when it clearly should have been The Monsterverse.
That sort of thing happens. It's nobody's fault, really.
Universal claims they'll try to find someone else to head up the franchise and reboot, though it looks like Bride of Frankenstein has been indefinitely shelved, with its 2019 release date abandoned. Hopefully they don't just choose the next director to come along for a rebound franchise development. Those never seem to work out.